The Dancing with the Stars 2012 All-Star season premieres in September, and the cast came into clearer focus August 13 when the celebrity-pro pairings were revealed during Good Morning America. While some celebs are coupled up with their original partners, others have new match-ups with which to contend. Here's a look at the updated DWTS cast list.
Five lucky celebs will hoof it in the ballroom on the arms of their original partners. Pairs included in this group are actress Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, The Bachelor's Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani, boybander Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson, season 3 winner Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke, and activist Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas.
The rest of the cast members--save possibly the fan-voted 13th celeb, who has yet to be selected--will go for the Mirrorball with brand new partners, matched up as follows: Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough, actor Gilles Marini and reigning pro champ Peta Murgatroyd, Olympic speedskater Apolo Ohno and Karina Smirnoff, racecar driver Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower, "Baywatch" babe Pamela Anderson and Tristan MacManus, soap star Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy, and season 2 winner Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya.
Although it's an exciting set of returning celebrities and the season will be extraordinarily competitive, it'll also be extraordinarily unfair. Common sense says that not all of the celebs could be reunited with their original partners; after all, Julianne Hough no longer participates, and she won the title with both Apolo and Helio. And on top of that, both Mark and Cheryl each danced previously with two of the All-Stars.
But in the interest of leveling the ballroom field, the deck should've been shuffled completely, and every celeb should've been assigned a brand new partner. It's unfair that some pairs--especially Emmitt and Cheryl, who won together--are being given the chance to pick up right where they left off, while others have to learn entirely new personalities and learning styles.
So will these new--and in some cases, renewed--Dancing with the Stars All-Star couples make for a good season? Will the unfair advantage granted to five couples give them a leg up on the competition? Is there really an advantage at all? Watch on ABC beginning next month and find out.